The latest national survey of building and construction shows more jobs are set to be created by the industry in 2015 as building activity continues to strengthen and confidence in the sector grows.

“Master Builders Australia’s National Survey of Building and Construction shows employer hiring intentions rose in the December quarter 2014 to their highest level since before the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) as builders indicate their intentions to hire more staff and sub-contractors,” Peter Jones, Chief Economist of Master Builders Australia said.

“The industry is on track to provide more job opportunities for young people as the index measuring builders’ intentions to take on apprentices lifted in the December quarter to a seven year high,” he said.

“The Survey has good news for young people as the index measuring builders’ intentions to employ apprentices rising to its highest level in seven years and a third of respondents planning to put on more apprentices in the next six months,” Peter Jones said.

“It’s a clear and positive signal that the building and construction industry is creating more jobs and career opportunities in one of the nation’s key growth industries,” he said.

“To ensure the increased demand for apprentices translates to the best outcomes for the industry and young people, Master Builders reinforces the need for new thinking by the Government to enable builders and education providers to enhance pathways from school to apprenticeships,” Peter Jones said.

“Confidence in the building and construction industry continues to grow with the Survey recording a sharp rise in expected building activity to the highest level in seven years,” Peter Jones said.

“The Survey indicates builders see significantly higher industry activity coming in the next six months which is translating into increased confidence in their own business prospects which have been trending up over the past two years and now approaching pre-GFC levels,” he said.

“The profitability of building firms rose to record the best result in nearly four years and the benefits should flow through to the wider economy as the Survey also recorded a marked improvement in builders’ intentions to invest in plant and equipment,” Peter Jones said.

“However, while the Survey reinforces Master Builders’ forecast strong growth for residential building in 2015, conditions in the commercial construction sector have some way to go before they could be described as healthy,” he said.

“Improvement in commercial construction is expected, but a return of business confidence in the sector is essential for a sustained upturn,” Peter Jones said.

“As the Federal Parliament is about to resume, Master Builders, in its Pre-Budget Submission, will for a more pragmatic Budget repair strategy to ensure that business confidence is not undermined,” Peter Jones said.